Home > internet, law > >Right to internet access?

>Right to internet access?

> Finland is looking to make fast internet access a legal requirement and is couching the law in terms of “rights”. From Laura Vilkkonen, the legislative counselor for the Ministry of Transport and Communications,

We think it’s something you cannot live without in modern society. Like banking services or water or electricity, you need Internet connection,… Universal service is every citizen’s subjective right.

There are so many things wrong here.

What does she mean by a “subjective right”? Since when are banking and electricity rights? And how something that has barely existed in the course of history can philosophically be considered a right is preposterous.

Making high speed internet access a right mocks the concept of rights.

And it significantly impinges on the freedom or internet service providers in doing business.

Who is going to pay? If it is the consumer surely he should be free to choose a slower speed/ cheaper option, especially if the higher speed/ dearer option precludes any internet connection (though now a “right” the state will come to the party).

Coming soon to a government near you,

It is a view shared by the United Nations, which is making a big push to deem Internet access a human right.

In June, France’s highest court declared such access a human right. But Finland goes a step further by legally mandating speed.

That France legislates such measures is suggestive that such rights do not exist. The fact that the United Nations supports it is confirmation they do not.

Categories: internet, law
  1. 2009 November 4 at 08:13

    Just because something is a ‘right’ does that make it free?
    I would contend now that everyone in NZ has internet access – if they want it. Even if you cannot afford a computer, you could use an internet cafe. Granted, you would be advised not to do any banking or the like at an internet cafe, but you get what you pay for.
    It is everyone who is over 18’s right to stand for election as MP in NZ but that doesn’t mean it follows that their campaign should be funded by anyone else.

  2. 2009 November 4 at 09:16

    Just because something is a ‘right’ does that make it free?
    One could argue that as a right it needs to be enforced. Rights are to be protected. One could say that the availability is a right (like say phone access). But I would deny that phones are a right. And minimum requirements remove access. Providing low speed may be cheaper, but higher cost/ high speed may be beyond some people.
    I would contend now that everyone in NZ has internet access – if they want it.
    Availability is not a right. It is just convenient.
    It is everyone who is over 18’s right to stand for election as MP in NZ but that doesn’t mean it follows that their campaign should be funded by anyone else.
    You’re conflating. The right to stand for an election is not the right to have a campaign paid for. And costs to stand are minimal processing costs. This prevents limiting a right to the wealthy.
    Though even here I find the term “right” unhelpful. It is a benefit of a certain type of democracy. Person’s who live under a monarchy do not have the same right.
    I contend that fair trials are a right such that countries who fail to do this are abusing human rights. Monarchies are not abusing human rights intrinsically.

  3. 2009 November 4 at 15:00

    I would have little problem with this if they would take the money out of their social welfare safety net.

  4. 2009 November 9 at 07:59

    The costs to stand (for MP) is a minimal processing cost – maybe but the cost to have a realistic chance of winning is much much higher. Even if you did it without spending a dollar of cash you would have to fund your time somehow.
    Even fundamental rights can have a high actual cost to lay hold of.

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